| Mary Milliken |
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actress Jane Fonda says one of the blessings of growing older is that “you learn what you can and can’t do” and she freely admits she doesn’t have what it takes to do comedy improv.
Fonda has 55 years in the business and two best actress Oscars on her shelf for 1978’s “Coming Home” and 1972’s “Klute”.
But in her new comedy film “This is Where I Leave You”, she was in awe of co-stars Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver and Ben Schwartz when it came to going off script.
Fonda spoke to Reuters about playing the vivacious mother of a dysfunctional family, the chemistry with her cast and her new favourite actor.
What drew you to the role of Hilary?
Fonda: Well, I am 76 and it is unusual to find a character that is multidimensional, funny, sassy and still has some libido going for her. People don’t write those kind of roles for older women very often.
I liked the fact that it was a very well-written film that had many different parts to it. It was funny, but it was also poignant. It spoke to family dysfunction which is universal and it showed that in spite of those issues we can heal and forgive.
What was the chemistry like on set?
Fonda: We got along really well. We shot it at a house on Long Island and we just got to the house to work in the morning and stayed and got to know each other.
Did you feel like the elder stateswoman of this cast?
Fonda: No, I felt like a student because I can’t do what they do. I can improvise. I improvised most of “Coming Home”. But I don’t know how to improvise comedy.
They have a whole other gift. When the film was over, Ben Schwartz got me into Upright Citizens Brigade and I tried. You either were born with that gene, and you can hone it and make it better. But if you weren’t born with it, you can’t do it. I don’t have that kind of brain.
So, I just watched in awe and paid close atten-tion and paid a lot of attention to Adam Driver. I mean this guy you could watch him forever and be fascinated. He is so interesting. His choices, his energy, his instincts as an actor are peerless.
I thought “What’s big deal?” Yeah, I saw him once, Adam Driver, in “Girls”. And then from the very first table read, I thought “Oh my God, I’ve never seen this before.” He is just unique and he is my new favourite actor.